THE North East Shadow MPC was unanimous in its vote to hold interest rates for another month.

Brexit uncertainty was a major factor in the decision, but outside influences including Nissan’s decision to move production of the X-Trail to Japan and the Grenfell fire were also cited as having an impact on certain sectors.

Members gave an overview on their own sectors and clients’ sectors before making the decision.

The MPC is a partnership between The Northern Echo, the North East England Chamber of Commerce and Darlington Building Society, which considers the state of the region’s economy and gives experts from a variety of sectors the opportunity to argue their case for a shift, or hold, in the rate.

Chair of the committee and finance director at Darlington Building Society, Christopher White said: “Nissan was really significant news for the North East and as a North East Shadow MPC is something we need to consider. It was worrying for the automotive sector and for the region.

“Some positives and some concerns have been raised during the meeting.”

Chris McDonald, CEO of the Materials Processing Institute, said: “We work with industry and I have to say that the picture is not good, linked to the uncertainty around Brexit. It is around trade and planning for market access, and this is an area where the North-East is uniquely exposed. For some companies in the manufacturing sector this is causing a huge build up in inventory and this is tying up a lot of cash in the business. In the chemical sector they can’t build up the inventory and will struggle to respond to any delays in their supply chain.

“Another issue, you’re loading parts on to a boat to Asia that takes six weeks to arrive and won’t know what the landed goods administration will be when the vessel arrives.

“Until there is some clarity around our future trading relationship, I think we’re going to see wastage in cash, wastage in investment and businesses going to the wall in industry.”

David Coates, managing director of Newsquest North East, said: “Where we are having difficulties is hiring people with the right skills to join our digital marketing team. We are trying to manage the decline of the print advertising business with the boom in the digital sector.

“As far as advertising is concerned, property and motors are challenged at the moment and I think that Brexit and the uncertainty is having an impact. In general, the economy and the uncertainty aren’t helping at the moment.”

Karl Pemberton of Active Chartered Financial Planners said: “The financial services industry is still quite buoyant. The thing that will affect that is the burden of extra regulation that is being put on us at the moment.

“There’s proof and evidence that the property market is slowing down. The contradiction to that is that property was one of the best performing assets in 2018, that can be residential or commercial, property overall.

“Coming out of the City the common thread is that investment markets have already priced in the negativity should Brexit happen at the end of March. It is the uncertainty that is holding back investment. If we knew what type of Brexit it was going to be the investment markets will react accordingly.”

Jonathan Willett, Director of Stockton-based Henderson Insurance Brokers, said: “There are three big concerns, one caused by a disaster and the other two related to Brexit.

“From an insurance point of view, we are seeing a hardening in the insurance market, particularly in the design and construction sector. The Grenfell disaster is having a massive impact, particularly involving cladding and high-rise buildings. Clients who are coming to renewals of their professional indemnity, we used to have 35 to 40 market places, we’re now down to two at best.

“There’s a number of projects on hold at the moment, where clients have invested quite heavily in equipment and materials. Nissan’s announcement was a big blow, which will have a negative effect on the North-East.

“We also have a number of clients in the recycling sector and they are traditionally employing European workers and they are starting to see an effect on their workforce.”

Gary Ellis, partner at Clive Owen & Co, said: “From our clients’ point of view we are starting to see one or two clients who are considering their investment decisions.

“The positive is that we’re still at full employment and seeing strong employment across a number of sectors.

Nicola Neilson of Latimer Hinks Solicitors said: “On the residential property side it is quiet, but that might just be the time of year. On the commercial side, property is doing quite well as an investment.”

James Robson, chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “Entrepreneurs are generally optimistic.

“There’s still a steady deal flow coming through, more probably in services and other support agencies so there’s still optimism around. Let’s just keeping working and keep going, we can’t influence what is going on in Westminster.”

steady deal flow coming through, more probably in services and other support agencies so there’s still optimism around.”